Hear me out: LiAngelo Ball has proven he belongs

Summer League performance shows he can be a skilled role player at the NBA level

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Pass it back to him, someone.
Pass it back to him, someone.
Image: Getty Images

LiAngelo Ball has earned an opportunity to be on someone’s NBA roster.

He’s done enough during his latest run to at least get a two-way contract from a team.

In his four games with the Charlotte Hornets’ Summer League team, he’s second on the squad in scoring behind only James Bouknight, the franchise’s 2021 lottery pick.

Many people believed that LiAngelo only received a spot on this team because of his brother, LaMelo, who’s the franchise guy in Charlotte. But the 22-year-old has proven he deserves to be here, too.


LiAngelo is averaging 10.5 points per game in the Summer League, which may not seem like much, but considering the circumstances it’s pretty impressive. You have to remember that this is a group of guys who have been thrown together, who have no rhythm with each other whatsoever. It can be extremely hard to play your own game when you don’t have a feel for how your teammates like to handle business on the court.

Some will say that Ball’s scoring skills aren’t surprising, because ever since high school he’s shown the ability to put the ball in the basket at a high clip. This is a man who once dropped 72 points in a high school game and averaged 27 a night over the course of a season.

Even when he played in Lithuania, he shot 41 percent from three.

But how is LiAngelo on D?

What’s been the most surprising statistic from Ball has been that he’s averaging 1.5 steals per game during his time in Las Vegas. Steals are not the sole factor for determining whether someone is a good defender, but they are a good sign of defensive prowess. And for LiAngelo, that skill could be huge, because his ideal role in the league would be that of an off-the-bench shooter who could give a team a scoring spark while not lagging behind as a defensive liability.


And LiAngelo is putting up these Summer League numbers in only 16.3 minutes per game. He’s been productive in a limited role with the Hornets after many people thought his hopes of playing in the league were done.

He’s now become a fan favorite and both his dreams — and those of his father — could be one step closer to reality.